Meadowview Christian assistant has ties to my alma mater

Published 9:09 am Wednesday, July 31, 2019

stumbled onto a Dallas County resident with ties to my alma mater last week.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Robert Gartman, the coach who built Morgan Academy’s football program. Gartman is now an assistant head coach at Meadowview Christian School under Bob Taylor.

I’m impressed with Gartman’s resume, especially with the legacy he established at Morgan Academy.

Email newsletter signup

Gartman coached the Senators to seven AISA state championships in two different stints: 1985-1992 and 2001-2008.  Under Gartman, the Senators won state titles in 1988, 1989, 1991, 1992, 2003 and 2005. Gartman was 146-46 at Morgan Academy.

But what caught my attention about Gartman was the time he spent in Tuscaloosa. Gartman played football at Alabama from 1974-1977 under coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. Playing for Bryant means you can play for anybody.

I asked Gartman about my alma mater, Holt High.  He did student teaching at Holt in 1979 before getting his first coaching gig.

Gartman said he was familiar with Woody Clements, my football coach at Holt High.  Holt’s football stadium is named Woody Clements Stadium.

Clements coached at Holt from 1951-1992, winning 235 football games, the most ever in Tuscaloosa County. At the time, he was ninth-best on the all-time wins list for Alabama high school coaches. In 1993, Clements was inducted into the Alabama High School Hall of Fame. He died in 2002.

“I knew Woody, but he wouldn’t know me if I walked right in front of him,” Gartman joked.

Several members of my family are Holt High graduates. Whenever I come into Tuscaloosa, I visit the school’s new location and its old location, where the school still plays football, baseball, basketball and softball.

I always get a kick out  seeing  the sign: “Home of The Ironmen,” a unique nickname that throws back to the area’s industrial past.

Gartman, in many ways, is an Ironman himself. Gartman, 63, could sit back and relive memories of his seven AISA state titles.  But Gartman chose to help the MCS football program reach the AISA state playoffs. That says a lot about a man who wants to help kids succeed in life, a nod to Bryant and Clements.